In order to enhance the training of solar professionals, The Solar Foundation has been an active supporter of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) in its capacity as the National Administrator of the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN). This "train-the-trainer" program is designed to fulfill the need for high quality solar workforce training programs and instructors. This program consists of nine Regional Training Providers (RTPs) that offer first-class training for solar instructors in their regions.
In support of the SITN, The Solar Foundation co-authored two guidance documents outlining best practices in photovoltaic (PV) education. The first of these, "Administrator Guidelines", helps college administrators learn how they can help close the skills gap in the solar industry by promoting PV instructional programs at their institutions. In the "Strategic Partnerships" document, we advise colleges and solar training programs on how to develop relationships with various public, private, and non-profit entities to help ensure the quality and sustainability of these training programs. These documents are to be released sometime during 2012.
The Solar Foundation also provided the SITN with extensive background research for its interactive Solar Career Map. This tool allows instructors, policymakers, and job seeker to explore the broad range of careers available across the entire solar industry. The solar career lattice maps out three dozen solar occupations, charts possible career paths between these occupations, and outlines the skills and training required for each.